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Washington Nationals walk off on San Diego Padres on Alcides Escobar single in 9th, 8-7

A back and forth matchup with the Padres in Nationals Park ended on a walk-off single by Alcides Escobar in the 9th...

MLB: San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer took a 4-3 lead into the seventh inning, having given up just three hits to that point, all three in back-to-back-to-back at-bats in the top of the fourth inning, where Manny Machado and Tommy Pham singled and scored on an Eric Hosmer home run. Scherzer held it there until the top of the seventh, when Jurickson Profar tied it up with one swing, and in the eighth, Machado hit a two-run shot off reliever Daniel Hudson to put the visiting Padres up, 6-4.

Alcides Escobar hit a one-out solo shot in the bottom of the eighth inning, however, and Trea Turner doubled in the next at bat, bringing Juan Soto up, and the Nationals’ slugger hit one out to left field off reliever Emilio Pagán, for a go-ahead home run, 7-6, but the Padres rallied to tie it at 7-7 with two out in the ninth, before Escobar came through again with a walk-off single that won it for the home team, 8-7 final.

Scherzer vs the Padres: After allowing two earned runs or fewer in 14 of 16 starts this year, Max Scherzer had his third blow-up last time out before tonight, when he gave up five hits and seven earned runs in 3 23 innings against the Padres in San Diego’s Petco Park before the All-Star break.

Scherzer was asked after that outing about having time during the break to process that start, but he said he already had.

He tossed three scoreless to start in that appearance, but things went awry in the fourth, with a leadoff homer, two HBPs around a single, a bases-loaded walk, grand slam (by SD reliever Daniel Camarena), and a double bringing an early end to Scherzer’s night.

“I’ve already kind of processed it,” Scherzer explained in his post game Zoom call with reporters. “I kind of identified the at bats that got away from me. To me they are more critical than what happened on the home run.

“So, you want to reflect upon that, that’s how I look at this outing, and where can I be better? That’s where I can be better.”

How would he respond? Scherzer struck out the side in a 12-pitch first today, then stranded two two-out walks in a 23-pitch second. A nine-pitch, 1-2-3 third left Scherzer at 44 pitches overall, but he ran into trouble in the fourth again, after the Nationals went up 4-0 in the bottom of the third. Manny Machado and Tommy Pham hit back-to-back one-out singles in front of Eric Hosmer, who hit an 0-1 cutter out to right field for a 3-run home run that made it a one-run game, 4-3 Nationals. Hosmer’s 8th.

It was still 4-3 in the home team’s favor when Scherzer came back out for the seventh, but two pitches in it was a tie game after Jurickson Profar hit a 1-0 cutter out to right field for a solo shot that tied things up at 4-4. No. 2 of 2021 for Profar.

Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 8 Ks, 2 HRs, 102 P, 66 S, 6/6 GO/FO.

Musgrove vs the Nationals: The Nationals scored five runs on six hits in Joe Musgrove’s first two innings of work on the mound during the series in Petco Park before the All-Star break, but the right-hander settled in and gave up just one hit over his final three innings in a 7-5 loss in which he received no decision.

“[Musgrove was] able to battle, just keep us in the game,” Padres’ skipper Jayce Tingler said after the outing, which the righty followed up on with a 4 13-inning start against the Rockies, in which he gave up five hits, two walks, and two runs, one earned.

On the year, heading into this afternoon’s rematch with the Nationals, Musgrove, 28, had a 2.93 ERA, 25 walks, 116 Ks, and a .189/.258/.331 line against in 18 games, 17 starts and 98 13 IP on the season.

Musgrove tossed two scoreless to start, on 32 pitches, but with one out in the third, he hit Trea Turner in the back of the helmet with a 93 MPH 0-1 sinker, and Juan Soto followed with an opposite field double that set Josh Bell up with two runners in scoring position, and Bell hit a grounder toward first that did the job with the speedy Turner on third, 1-0 Nationals.

Josh Harrison followed with a two-out RBI double that plated Soto, 2-0, and 3-0 on Andrew Stevenson’s RBI single to center, and Stevenson scored on a Tres Barrera single to center, 4-0 after three in D.C.

Bell and Harrison hit back-to-back singles off Musgrove to start the bottom of the fifth, and a HBP on Stevenson loaded them up for Gerardo Parra, who lined into a double play, 4-6 at second. Two down. Tres Barrera got walked intentionally after starting up 2-0, and out No. 3 came on a swinging K from Max Scherzer.

Joe Musgrove’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 81 P, 50 S, 5/2 GO/FO.

J-Hay Multi-versatile: Josh Harrison went 3 for 4 with a double in Saturday night’s game, which was completed this afternoon, collecting 3+ hits in a game for the sixth time this season, and going into the series finale with the Padres, Harrison was 10 for 29 (.345 AVG) with two doubles, a triple, one home run, nine RBIs, three walks, and five runs scored over his previous eight games. Harrison connected for three hits again in the finale of the three-game set with the Padres, going 3 for 5 with two doubles and a run scored.

Bullpen Action: Craig Stammen took over for the Padres with the Nationals up 4-3 in the sixth, and gave up a leadoff walk and one-out single, but he stranded both runners at the end of a 13-pitch frame. Still 4-3 Nationals.

Drew Pomeranz got the seventh for the Padres, and retired the side in order, striking out two.

Daniel Hudson had a runner (Fernando Tatis, Jr.) reach on an error to start the Padres’ half of the eighth, and one out later, Manny Machado crushed a 98 MPH 1-0 fastball, hitting a 2-run shot to left field to put the Padres up, 6-4.

Emilio Pagán took over for San Diego with a two-run lead in the eighth, and gave up a one-out solo home run to right by Alcides Escobar, who hit a 94 MPH 1-1 fastball over the out-of-town scoreboard to make it a one-run game, 6-5 Padres.

Trea Turner doubled in the next at bat, to put the tying run at second base, and Juan Soto stepped in next and hit an opposite field, two-run home run to left to put the Nationals up, 7-6.

Brad Hand came on for the save opportunity, and walked Victor Caratini with one out. Pinch runner Jorge Mateo stole second and third without a throw on either, and he scored on a two-out, two-strike single to left by Trent Grisham that tied things up at 7-7. Grisham stole second without a throw as well, and after an intentional walk to Fernando Tatis, Jr., and an unintentional walk to Jake Cronenworth loaded the bases for Manny Machado, who K’d looking at a 2-2 fastball inside. Tied at 7-7 after eight and a half.

Mark Melancon came on looking to send it to extras, and gave up a one-out single to left by Tres Barrera. Victor Robles inexplicably tried to bunt a few times, unsuccessfully, before he got to a full count and took a cutter off the left elbow. Alcides Escobar stepped in next and doubled to center to win it! Walk-off winner!! Ballgame.

Final Score: 8-7 Nationals

Nationals now 43-49